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Game 81: Dallas @ Nashville – “Stars”-Studded Home Finale


Photo by: John F. Rhodes/Special Contributor-Dallas News

 The Nashville predators didn’t get any help from St. Louis last night as the Blues coughed up a two-goal lead in the final 6 minutes to allow the Wings to eventually win in a shootout. This puts the Wings in 4th by one point.

The Dallas Stars playoff chances are hanging on by a thin thread. Dallas has to win out and needs a little help from either L.A., Phoenix or San Jose to lose their remaining two games in regulation.

Tonight is the Fangtastic Finale where Predator fans will be eligible to win the jersey off the players back. Sellout crowd tonight so if you don’t have a ticket you can watch FS Tennessee with Pete Weber and Terry Crisp on the call. 102.5 the Game will have radio coverage from Tom Callahan and Stu Grimson. Puck drop at 7:00 P.M.

This Year’s Series: 1-2-0 (Home 0-1-0) (Away 1-1-0)

Looking at the Stars: Playing desperate hockey has been the Stars motive over the last several weeks, but their record doesn’t show this kind of desperation to get into the playoffs. The Stars have dropped their last three games, two to a team they are trying to catch in the playoff hunt, San Jose. They have also allowed 13 goals in that span and have mustered four goals total on offense.

Dallas is lead in points by Loui Eriksson with 70 and by Michael Ryder in goals with 35. Ryder is having an outstanding year and has proven to be the sleeper pick of the summer. Ryder plays with such ease and deliberation, it is easy to see why he ranks in the NHL’s top ten for goals.

Looking at the Predators: It was a tight game and a low-scoring affair when the Minnesota Wild visited Nashville on Tuesday. The game ended with a shootout and a score of 2-1. Minnesota’s Dany Heatley, who seems to be the only player on Minnesota that can crack Nashville scored their lone goal. Nashville’s Gabriel Bourque scored the regulation goal after a brilliant turnover caused by Spaling.

Radulov scored the shootout winner on a filthy move that Erat tried and failed on his attempt and Anders Lindback made 24 of 25 saves and 3 for 3 in the shootout to win the game’s first star. The Predators dropped back to 5th after Detroit’s shootout win against St. Louis so it’s imperative for Nashville to take care of business tonight against a desperate Dallas club.

For the Stars to win: Play as if this game is your last. Dallas cannot play complacent and hope to get into the playoffs. They are at a must-win scenario and even that doesn’t guarantee that they get in. The defense and goaltending have to be better than the last three games allowing 13 goals.

Dallas has scoring forwards and the ability to create space with speed. If Ryder, Eriksson or Benn can get Nashville to bite and over-extend, Dallas can easily take advantage and score some goals. The goalie issue has been disastrous as of late with Lehtonen allowing 11 of the 13 goals. Lehtonen was pulled in the Vancouver game after allowing 4. Whoever is in goal tonight has to stand tall or it’ll be another disappointing loss for the Stars and a flicker of a playoff chance may be put out.

For the Predators to win: Play harder than your opponent. The Predators know that no one wants to face Detroit having home-ice, and the Predators have a chance to win out and get home ice with a Detroit loss (regulation or overtime).

Radulov has been simply amazing at every turn. Although he sometimes tries to do too much and is selfish with the puck, he goes until their is nothing left. Trotz was qouted as saying “when the game is on the line, he [Radulov] wants the puck on his stick.” Some others that are due to get on the scoreboard include Mike Fisher and the Kostitsyn brothers. Look for the whole team to play their best tonight in front of the sold-out finale crowd and send the Predators into the playoffs on a high note.


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